It’s been over a year since we started saying “we’re all in this together.” It’s easy to let the fatigue of separation become overwhelming but with the finish line in site, let’s not forget to be kind. Love often grows from kindness. So, what better way to show love than with random acts of kindness to others? This year, for Valentine’s Day, we want to inspire you with ways to show love to friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers.
Show the Love for Valentine's Day
Inside your pod
It’s easy to forget about “the little things” when it comes to everyday life. However, most relationships thrive from “the little things.” Consider taking a few moments to spread some love and kindness with those closest to you. A few acts of kindness ideas:
- Help out in the kitchen: What job do you usually shy away from at home? Does your partner always take out the trash? Beat them to it without saying anything. Maybe you could clean the kitchen when they are at work or asleep. Consider what would make their day a little easier.
- Leave a note: Something as simple as a positive sticky note can brighten anyone’s day. Grab a few and write some words of encouragement or simply “I love you” then leave it somewhere personal for them to find: bathroom mirror, lunchbox, steering wheel, etc.
- Reminisce: Sharing memories can recreate special moments. This can be as simple as scrolling through old pictures on your phone together. The photos are only the spark, use the inspiration to connect and share a smile. If your pod includes someone from an older generation, consider learning more about them. They will enjoy your curiosity and you can enjoy a new story.
Outside Your Pod
There are so many people we care about but cannot see in person, at least not yet. These are the relationships that can be most tested during separation. But, they don’t have to fizzle. A few ideas of nice gestures you can do for people outside your pod:
- Text someone good morning/good night: It’s nice to know someone is thinking about you especially when you first wake up or start winding down at night. Technology makes it easy to “pass a note” telling someone you care.
- Write a handwritten letter: Speaking of notes, send a friend or loved one a handwritten note. Snail mail is still special and knowing that you took the time to share your thoughts with pen and paper really means something. If you don’t know what to say, tell them they inspire you and why.
- Wheel out/in your neighbor’s trash can: This one seems really simple but think about how frustrated you are when you miss garbage pickup. We all get busy and it’s nice to know your neighbors have your back. It takes less than 5 minutes but can really make a difference.
- Tutor someone: You have a particular set of skills and virtual learning can be hard. Help your friend with their chemistry homework or your niece with her anatomy and physiology paper. Schedule a Zoom meeting to go over a history report, but share your love of learning with someone else; it’s the good kind of contagious.
Consider a completely random act of kindness. The idea is to perform a kind act for someone else without any expectation of reciprocation. As a healthcare professional you are uniquely positioned to do more than most but again, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. A few great ideas:
- Donate Blood: Many people make it a point to regularly donate blood but now it’s even more dire. According to the American Red Cross, one donation can save as many as three lives. If you’ve fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis, your convalescent plasma donation may help up to 4 coronavirus patients in need.
- Pay it forward: Are you not you without your morning coffee? Pay it forward at the drive thru by purchasing the car behind you’s order. Or, keep an extra umbrella in your car. If you see someone caught in the rain, it would definitely make a difference to them.
- Praise a local business online: This past year has been hard on everyone and small businesses have seriously struggled to stay afloat. Consumers take online reviews seriously when deciding where to spend their time and money. A positive comment or review can help keep your local restaurant, hair salon or retail establishment open. It only takes a few minutes but it makes quite a difference.
- Send an anonymous gift to a patient: You spend as much time with your patients as anyone else. That means you have a keener insight to their wants and needs than a lot of people they interact with. Consider a small, anonymous care package. Do they always talk about their grandkids, maybe sending them a picture frame so they can keep their kids nearby. Or, do they always struggle to hold their device in the right spot when video calling? Perhaps a bendable tripod they can put their phone in so they can attach it to their chair, bed, or simply hold it at a more natural angle. You know them best.
Most importantly, yourself
In sharing all of this kindness for others don’t forget yourself. Remember self-care isn’t selfish. Try to take some times to show kindness or at the very least grace for yourself. A few places to start:
- Set goals: In a year where every day can seem like Groundhog Day, set goals for yourself. Create a list of accomplishments you want to achieve for each month, be sure they are actionable and attainable. Not only will you be more motivated to take steps toward your overall objectives, but incremental goals help track your progress and time.
- Go to your favorite spot: Take the day and go to a place that makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be a long trip (it can be though), perhaps it’s a hammock in your backyard or a big comfy chair in your living room. Go there, be there, and just enjoy it.
- Try something new: Don’t get stuck in a rut. Break out by opening your mind to something new and different. You don’t have to go surfing, or skiing, but maybe try a new cuisine. Consider picking up a new hobby or skill. Finding a new creative outlet can help you get to know yourself better.
- Start a piggy bank for a cause: Instead of tossing your loose change in the cupholder of your car, or by the washing machine as you clean out your pockets, consider starting a piggy bank. Then, at the end of the month, or year, you donate the money to a cause you believe in.
Kindness Can Help Heal
There is a substantial amount of research showing that kindness holds the power to heal. Medicine cures people but kindness certainly speeds the process along. The Dignity Health/CCARE scientific literature review shows that “kinder care and better information sharing as a result of compassionate practices can lead to a range of improved health outcomes.” Usually, better relationships lead to better communication. Better communication can mean a patient feels comfortable enough to share more, potentially crucial, details with their care team.
As we enter into a second year of this pandemic, remember “we are all in this together.” February is the perfect time to to show love to your friends, family, patients, strangers and most importantly, yourself. Others won’t forget your kindness and neither will you. Remember, kindness is contagious too, so wash your hands and spread kindness.